Russian Web Site Selling Child Porn Shut Down

The U.S. Customs Service and the Moscow City Police cooperated to shut down a Moscow-based Web site called Blue Orchid that was selling child pornography, the agency said Monday.

As a result of the investigation, 15 arrest warrants were executed in the U.S., and fourAmericans and five Russians were arrested, Customs said. The agency also said that the Blue Orchid Web site was actually shut down in December and arrests have been made over the past several months.

“The United States Customs Service is working aggressively withlaw enforcement officials both here and abroad in making aworldwide assault on the producers, distributors and purchasersof child pornography sold over the Internet,” acting U.S.Customs Commissioner Charles Winwood said.

“The global nature of the Internet demands aglobal response by law enforcement to protect innocentchildren, regardless of their nationalities,” Winwood said.

International Effort

The joint investigation began in May, when Moscow CityPolice requested assistance from the U.S. Customs Attache inMoscow to identify and investigate the individuals responsiblefor the Blue Orchid Web site, which allegedly sold videosdepicting the sexual and physical abuse of children.

As a result of the Moscow City Police’s request, the CustomsCyberSmuggling Center in Fairfax, Virginia arranged for anundercover purchase from the site.

After the purchase, Customsprovided information to the Moscow police that led detention ofone of the alleged operators, Vsevolod Solntsev-Elbe, and a 13-year-old boy, who had been transportedby Elbe from Novokuybishevsk to Moscow for the purpose ofsexual exploitation, Customs said.

After Elbe’s December 10th arrest, more than 400 videotapes,video duplication equipment, and sales and shipping recordswere seized from his apartment. Sergey Garbko,the other alleged Web site operator, was arrested on December 18th.

Black Market

Customs said that the Russian portion of the investigationended on March 2nd with the arrest of Victor Razumov, known asthe “Punisher,” on charges that he molested and sexually abuseda 15-year-old boy during the making of two videos.Customs said that the movies depicted forcible sex and painfulsadomasochistic activity.

Most of the tapes made in Russia were ultimately sold over the Internet to Americans for US$200 to $300 per tape. After reviewing recordsfound in Elbe’s apartment, U.S. Customs identified a number ofU.S. suspects who had purchased child pornography from BlueOrchid.

Blue Orchid customers apparently chose their videos online,wired cash to the site proprietors, and then e-mailedinstructions for delivery of the tapes. The tapes were sentvia private courier or the postal service.

U.S. Arrests

When U.S. Customs agents in Chicago, Illinois searched the home of alleged customer Blue Orchid customer Glenn Martikean on January 26th, Customs agents learned that Martikean was in Russia. Martikean was arrested by U.S. Customs agents upon his return to theU.S. on January 31st for child pornography violations, including child sex tourism.

A grand jury indicted Martikean last Friday for illegallyimporting child pornography and for undertaking foreign travel with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor.

Another alleged customer, Derek Lochiatto of Malden,Massachusetts, was arrested and charged Monday with possessionof child pornography. The names of the other two individualsarrested in the U.S. have not been made public.

In addition to the arrests in the U.S. and Canada, Customs saidthat enforcement actions have been completed in Sweden, Denmark,and the Netherlands and that investigations are currentlyunderway in a number of other European countries.

2 Comments

  • There is war, poverty, starvation, death, floods and many more saddening events going on around us in the world, yet here we have governments spending millions of dollars and countless hours trying to stop people from looking at certain pictures (which aren’t actually pictures but a representation generated by a whole lot of ones and zeros) on the internet. This is madness gone insane. They are so bent on stopping this that they still haven’t realised they’re wasting their time.
    A website here, a person downloading there – a drop in the ocean. They would be better off helping old ladies cross the street.
    I’ve seen so called ‘loving caring parents’ do worse things to their kids than take a few photos, but are the authorities interested? NO! It’s perfectly acceptable to beat your kids, starve them, whip them and humiliate them! [Well according to the authorities it is.]
    All we hear about is child porn – but do we ever see it? Have we actually been shown what this so-called ‘porn’ actually is? NO! I wonder why not..

  • If US and Russia oppose child pornography and are putting “real” efforts into fighting it, why then this type of pictures and videos are easily distributed through IRC for FREE?!?! I haven’t even heard of Blue Orchid, but I have seen thousands of people trading this crap on-line. Besides, producers like Max Hardcore LEGALLY produce pornography that imitates child pornography. He uses 18 y.o. girls, dresses them up like children, and abuses them to the point of total degradation. Just like everything else that governments do, this effort is nothing more than a PR move and a “we gonna get’cha” scare.

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